Bojayá Massacre (06:57)
In 2002, Leyner Palacios survived a church massacre that killed 32 of his relatives. The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia battled pro-government paramilitaries. In December 2016, Columbia's president honors Palacios as a survivor, community leader, and for his forgiveness of FARC.
Tension in Chocó (05:56)
In the 1990s, paramilitaries and FARC guerrillas warred for natural resources; both sides used the Chocó region. The government ignored the civilian casualties. Palacios recalls the paramilitaries taking over the police station and learning FARC was on its way.
Trauma and Transition (05:14)
Heiler Martinez Renteria talks of his family killed in the church and of his faith through the trauma. In a 2016 peace deal, the guerrillas agree to disarm, and the state helps them transition to civilian life. Palacios goes to a FARC camp to discuss continued disarmament.
Paths to Peace (03:44)
FARC Commander Pablo Atrato shows Palacios the supplies needed to continue peace. Palacios's daughter Ana Luisa shares her respect and concern for her father in his work.
Seeking Sanctuary (04:45)
The day before the Bojayá Massacre, the paramilitary moves through flooded streets. Gunshots tear through the wooden houses. Palacios recalls running with his family to find shelter at the church; the nuns would not let the paramilitary enter.
Peace Talks and Forgiveness (04:31)
In 2014, talks occur in Havana between massacre victims and FARC. In 2015, FARC apologizes in a ceremony in front of the church they bombed. In 2017, Palacios receives a Global Pluralism award for reconciliation work; other forces are taking up the space left by FARC
Day of the Massacre (06:52)
ELN rebels and criminal gangs fight for control of territories; both traffic drugs. On May 02, 2002, FARC fires a mortar at AUC that strikes the roof of a church and detonates. Palacios describes running with his family through bullets to the other side of the river.
Responsibly and Restitution (06:36)
Palacios places blame for the massacre on the army that helped the paramilitaries, General Montoya's lack of aid, and falsehoods that created further division. The victims’ bodies were not buried by tradition and the government never admitted wrongdoing in improperly identifying the bodies.
Crucial Exhumations (04:19)
The state begins exhumations 15 years after the massacre. Renteria sends his wife in the event the officials finally identify one of his children. Palacios cites that 55 bodies were recovered to be examined and identified in a crucial moment of pain but also hope.
Violence Increases in Bojayá (05:23)
In May of 2002, over 5,000 people are displaced. The Columbian president classifies FARC as a terrorist group; violence and displacement continues. Palacios and his daughter receive death threats.
Systematic and Cyclical Violence (09:01)
Palacios takes Renteria to see if his missing daughter has been identified; scientists assure them everything possible is being done. Later, Palacios learns of a nearby shooting death; he laments the violence in Columbia and the negligence of the State.
Implementing Peace Accords? (04:48)
In 2018, Iván Duque Márquez is sworn in as president and vows to work for a more sustainable peace; armed groups increase their capabilities and murder of social leaders continues. Palacios states that the lights of hope are fading; he relies on his family for strength.
Encouraging Peace (09:06)
Palacios takes the Christ of Bojayá to the capitol to share the story of the Bojayá Massacre and encourage peace talks. As of 2019, violence and the drug trade threaten the talks. Since the 2016 peace deal, over 450 community leaders have been murdered.
Credits: Bojaya: Caught in the Crossfire (00:35)
Credits: Bojaya: Caught in the Crossfire
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